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A Market Fresh Dinner: Planning and Prep

Alice Waters

Lesson time 23:58 min

Quality time with your guests is just as important as making a quality meal. Learn how to think in three courses and time each step of your cooking for a delicious menu that allows you time to enjoy the party.

Alice Waters
Teaches The Art of Home Cooking
In 16+ lessons, learn to cook beautiful, seasonal meals at home from the James Beard Award-winning founder of Chez Panisse.
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I usually think of menus in three courses-- a salad, a main dish, and a sweet end. I'm also wanting to contrast the textures, and the color, and the temperature on the plates. Menus like this are perfect for entertainment, because so much of the preparation can be done ahead of time. - When I'm thinking about a menu, and I'm having people over to dinner, it's really important that I'm not doing very much at the last minute. And my plan is to serve them, when they just come, some almonds and some olives. And I'm going to roast the almonds in the oven. And I'm going to saute the olives on the stove with some lemon and oil just to flavor them a little bit. I'm going to grill chicken over the fire, and serve it with these potatoes, which I'm going to grill as well. I'm going to parboil them here. And then I'm going to cook them on the grill. This fruit compote that I want to make for you is one that could sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two. But I don't want to have to worry about-- about last minute preparation-- just about the one thing that I might really have to concentrate on. I mean, it really works successfully to have only one thing hot that you have to think about. And, of course, it's more time to be with your friends. I want to season my chicken, because the longer that it-- has salt, the more flavor it has. And I'm going to season it with some thyme and salt and pepper. I took the chicken breasts off of the chicken. I'm going to make stock with the other part, and use the legs to make something with as well. But the breasts are rather large. I think that this will be enough for four people. So I'm going to sprinkle it rather liberally with some chopped thyme, and then really liberally with the salt. I put a little olive oil on it, too, and I set it aside. If it's not very long before dinner begins, I'll just leave it out at room temperature-- maybe an hour or two. Because it's great to have it at room temperature before you're grilling. But if it's longer than that, I would put it in the refrigerator, and take it out an hour or so before you're going to cook it. All set. And I always wash my hands after I touch-- touch the chicken. I'm going to start the potatoes in cold water. They don't break up so easily that way. Little bit more salt water, kind of liberally. And while they're cooking I'm going to teach you about aioli. I'm going to make an aioli. And this is the most basic, delicious sauce of . It's with garlic paste, and really good olive oil, with salt. And you can put all different kinds of flavorings in. I mean, you could make it a green sauce with garlic. Actually, you could leave the garlic out, and just have a really tasty mayonnaise with lemon in it. To make this emulsion, it takes an egg that's at room temperature. It's very critical. Sometimes, when I want to make an aioli right at the moment, and I have cold eggs in the refrigerator, I'll pour hot water over the egg...

Farm-to-table cooking

Alice Waters started America’s farm-to-table revolution. When she founded the iconic restaurant Chez Panisse, her local, organic ingredients sparked a movement and earned her the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. In her first-ever online cooking class, Alice opens the doors of her home kitchen to teach you how to pick seasonal ingredients, create healthy and beautiful meals, and change your life by changing the food you make at home.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I now have an appreciation of what Food is all about. You use your senses. Thank you . J Clemmons

So lovely to hear Alice talk so passionately about her love of ingredients, eating seasonally, and to let the flavors of the fresh produce shine themselves without a lot of sauces. Her home cooking style is so simple and fresh. She creates such a romance with her food, its just amazing.

Methods, no recipes, using all parts of the vegetable - even the scraps, beans on toast, Japanese mortar and pestle and so much more !! My first masterclass was amazing!

Wow! Such a beautiful class. Alice is just a unique character, I am so inspired and I have learned so much. Thank you Alice! You warm our heart and soul.


A fellow student

Absolutely love Alice's approach! She really appreciates all the ingredients and tastes her creations along the way, making home cooking truly inspiring and beautiful!

Anne M.

I appreciate how much Alice loves ingredients, and food...that's completely obvious. However, this just wasn't what I'd consider "home cooking." Home cooking, to me, isn't this pretentious. Again - I appreciate her knowledge and talent - this just wasnt' my jam.

A fellow student

Great. I have a question. When making this aioli, you’re using a raw egg yolk. What are the risks of salmonella?

Debra R.

Does anyone know what kind of knife Alice uses for chopping? It's very wide but doesn't appear to be a chef's knife.

Susan R.

I loved It! I loveAlice’s gentle approach to cooking and entertaining. It is helping me to slow down and relish all the facets of planning, prepping and cooking my meals. I’ve ordered a cast iron spoon. I can’t wait to cook an egg in my fireplace!

Chris and Scarlett F.

Now known as Alice's olives - these are a favourite with friends and family. Who knew that warming olives before serving them would make such a difference!


It drives me nuts when I see chefs taste something and then put the spoon back in the mix. It's fine if only they are eating it. But don't share your germs if you're serving the food to others.


This was one of my favorite lessons. I use it a lot as a reference to get core ingredients/preparation done now. Alice is an wonderful person, and an incredible teacher. Thank you so much!

Zenna Y.

I remember it's not really good to eat raw egg. Is that a specific egg? If yes, does anyone know what's the name of it?

Josianne B.

Cooking that is so simple and delicious. I just wish Alice wouldn't taste and dip the spoon back in the dish!